I think we’re never going to run out of zombie movies worth watching. Daylight’s End is an underrated blend of action, horror, and zombies that looks really good. It’s one of those movies that simply slipped under the radar because of the oversaturation of the genre. We will be following Rourke, a tough drifter hellbent on revenge roaming the post-apocalyptic landscape for zombies to kill. He accidentally runs into a group of survivors and decides to help them. The story is as old as time but it fucking works. It’s a good excuse to shoot some zombies at least.
Apart from our hero Rourke, played by Johnny Strong whom you might remember from Black Hawk Down, we also have Lance Henriksen. The rest of the cast did a solid job including former MMA fighter Krzysztof Soszynski playing the humongous lead zombie Alpha. Daylight’s End features a lot of cool weapons starting with Rourke’s suppressed Springfield Armory M1A SOCOM 16 with a red dot sight. It just looks so cool although I don’t know how he’s able to shoot so many zombies with a 10-round magazine. We’ll also have the opportunity to see a lot of cool shotguns, handguns and rifles including the legendary M1 Garand (Ping!).
They clearly had someone with military experience on the set as the shootouts are excellent considering the budget of the movie. Now, I keep saying zombies but the creatures here are something between a vampire and a zombie. According to our official Rabbit Reviews rulebook, if a creature doesn’t specifically drink the blood of its victims, it’s not a vampire. And the fact that the sun kills it is of no consequence. There was a lot of blood but not a lot of gore in Daylight’s End. At least the makeup was surprisingly believable.
Roarke is a lone warrior going from town to town and killing creatures that now rule the Earth. In one of these towns, near Austin, Texas, he runs into a group of survivors holed up in a police station. Heavily fortified and well organized, they’ve been fending off attacks by these vicious creatures for days. However, these last few days, the creatures have been much more dangerous, led by a mysterious top dog. Luckily, Roarke is here to take care of things.
Daylight’s End reminds me of a couple of hugely underrated Australian zombie films. I’m talking, of course, about Wyrmwood and Undead. And although these were two passion projects they share a similar visual outlook and awareness of budgetary limitations. And we can place Dead Rising: Watchtower in the same category. At first, I thought I’m going to hate Johnny Strong and his character but as time went on, I started liking him more and more. They leaned into this whole mysterious stranger thing, giving off Mad Max vibes.
I think that one of the few things that were missing in this movie was an element of unpredictability. I mean, once the main fight kicks off, you pretty much know how it’s going to end. This gets rid of any tension and that juicy “let’s board up against bloodthirsty creatures” vibe. For example, Feast did a terrific job and it features a similar budget.
Director: William Kaufman
Writer: Chad Law
Cast: Johnny Strong, Lance Henriksen, Chelsea Edmundson, Louis Mandylor, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Chris Kerson
Fun Facts: The movie was also released in a interactive virtual reality experience.